Roy Bell is Clinton’s Citizen of Year
Roy Bell, a driving force in launching Clinton’s phenomenal football tradition before going on to star at both the college and professional levels, was recognized Friday night as the city’s Citizen of the Year for 2016. But while his athletic successes were of course mentioned, it was Bell’s more recent contributions to a new generation of young people here that won him his Citizen-of-the-Year award.
“He volunteers at the East Side Academy and is a mentor and role model for lots of young kids from all walks of life,” said 2015 COTY recipient Jimmie Johnson in announcing Bell as this year’s honoree.
As a sophomore at Clinton High School, the speedy running back helped older brother Carlos lead the Red Tornadoes to their first state football championship ever with a 34-14 thumping of Broken Bow in 1965. After a disappointing 19-13 loss to Wewoka in the ’66 state finals – Clinton’s only defeat in his three-year varsity career and a game in which he returned a kickoff 94 yards for one touchdown and recovered a fumble with less than four minutes left to give the Tornadoes a final shot at winning – Bell came back in 1967 to help the Reds capture their second state title with another beat-down of Broken Bow.